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The extended finite element method (XFEM) offers an elegant tool to model material discontinuities and cracks within a regular mesh, so that the element edges do not necessarily coincide with the discontinuities. This allows the modeling of propagating cracks without the requirement to adapt the mesh incrementally. Using a regular mesh offers the advantage, that simple refinement strategies based on the quadtree data structure can be used to refine the mesh in regions, that require a high mesh density. An additional benefit of the XFEM is, that the transmission of cohesive forces through a crack can be modeled in a straightforward way without introducing additional interface elements. Finally different criteria for the determination of the crack propagation angle are investigated and applied to numerical tests of cracked concrete specimens, which are compared with experimental results.

PARAMETER IDENTIFICATION OF MESOSCALE MODELS FROM MACROSCOPIC TESTS USING BAYESIAN NEURAL NETWORKS
(2010)

In this paper, a parameter identification procedure using Bayesian neural networks is proposed. Based on a training set of numerical simulations, where the material parameters are simulated in a predefined range using Latin Hypercube sampling, a Bayesian neural network, which has been extended to describe the noise of multiple outputs using a full covariance matrix, is trained to approximate the inverse relation from the experiment (displacements, forces etc.) to the material parameters. The method offers not only the possibility to determine the parameters itself, but also the accuracy of the estimate and the correlation between these parameters. As a result, a set of experiments can be designed to calibrate a numerical model.

From a macroscopic point of view, failure within concrete structures is characterized by the initiation and propagation of cracks. In the first part of the thesis, a methodology for macroscopic crack growth simulations for concrete structures using a cohesive discrete crack approach based on the extended finite element method is introduced. Particular attention is turned to the investigation of criteria for crack initiation and crack growth. A drawback of the macroscopic simulation is that the real physical phenomena leading to the nonlinear behavior are only modeled phenomenologically. For concrete, the nonlinear behavior is characterized by the initiation of microcracks which coalesce into macroscopic cracks. In order to obtain a higher resolution of this failure zones, a mesoscale model for concrete is developed that models particles, mortar matrix and the interfacial transition zone (ITZ) explicitly. The essential features are a representation of particles using a prescribed grading curve, a material formulation based on a cohesive approach for the ITZ and a combined model with damage and plasticity for the mortar matrix. Compared to numerical simulations, the response of real structures exhibits a stochastic scatter. This is e.g. due to the intrinsic heterogeneities of the structure. For mesoscale models, these intrinsic heterogeneities are simulated by using a random distribution of particles and by a simulation of spatially variable material parameters using random fields. There are two major problems related to numerical simulations on the mesoscale. First of all, the material parameters for the constitutive description of the materials are often difficult to measure directly. In order to estimate material parameters from macroscopic experiments, a parameter identification procedure based on Bayesian neural networks is developed which is universally applicable to any parameter identification problem in numerical simulations based on experimental results. This approach offers information about the most probable set of material parameters based on experimental data and information about the accuracy of the estimate. Consequently, this approach can be used a priori to determine a set of experiments to be carried out in order to fit the parameters of a numerical model to experimental data. The second problem is the computational effort required for mesoscale simulations of a full macroscopic structure. For this purpose, a coupling between mesoscale and macroscale model is developed. Representative mesoscale simulations are used to train a metamodel that is finally used as a constitutive model in a macroscopic simulation. Special focus is placed on the ability of appropriately simulating unloading.